September 10, 2020

MANILA – The country’s merchandise trade performance continued to show signs of recovery in July 2020, the National Economic and Development Authority said.

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported today that the country’s total merchandise trade growth remained in negative territory at -18.6 percent in July 2020 against the same period last year.

On a month-on-month basis, the July figure is 8.2 percent higher than the total trade levels recorded in June. This is due to merchandise exports growing at 5.2 percent in July 2020 compared to the previous month. Imports are similarly growing month-on-month in July 2020 with its levels at 10.7 percent higher than June 2020. These indicates prospects for further improvements.

“Month-on-month growth performance showing respectable growth indicates that the economy is steadily making its way out of the economic downturn,” said Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua.

He continued by mentioning that the government needs to sustain the gradual and calibrated opening of the economy while ensuring strict compliance to health and safety standards, to support the recovery and make the economy stronger and more resilient.

According to the NEDA chief, worker mobility is one of the critical elements that will help sustain the gradual and calibrated resumption of economic activities.

“We must emphasize the importance of safe and sufficient modes of public transport to allow workers to safely go to back to work and businesses to operate. Subsidies for service contracting need to be considered to incentivize transport owners and operators to operate even with a reduced passenger load,” Chua said.

He also said that the government will continue to pursue fundamental structural reforms jointly with its efforts to improve the country’s healthcare system.

“Reforms related to levelling the playing field such as liberalizing investment regimes to draw in capital and jobs, honing and improving innovative and forward-looking technologies, and producing competitive and unique products and services, remain in the government’s priority plan,” he added.

Chua emphasized that logistics reforms that will rationalize the freight system, establish strategic warehousing, as well as cold chain systems remain important as this will ensure the mobility of goods and complement efforts to improve production.